K.A. asks from Hillsboro, OR on May 05, 2008
5-Almost 6 Year Old, Throwing Tantrums
I really enjoy reading all of the wonderful advise you give to people who are having a difficult time with their precious bundles of joy. I now feel I need some advise regarding my wonderfully sweet (most of the time) 5-almost-6 year old son.
He has just recently been getting so upset that he starts to kick things, or throw things, or whatever he can (not physically) to be violent and let us know that he is mad. I have tried talking to him, I have tried punishing him, I feel helpless when he is crying because he is just so frusterated he doesn't know what else to do.
Usually these "fits" occur when he doesn't get his way (I know that sounds like he is just spoiled, but he has never been like this before-hence my concern) We did just move and that means more time away due to travel to and from work. I am working on opening up an in home day care but it wont probably be in affect until early June.
I guess I am just wondering if any body else has had to deal with this, and if they found solutions that worked. Normally he is a wonderful, caring, understading kid.
Thanks for all of your help moms!
So What Happened?™
I just want to first of all say THANK YOU so much Moms!!! I have gotten some very good advise and very good feedback about this. I appreciate you all very much!! I agree with one mom who said "we all need to support each other". These kids don't come with instructions and there is a no return policy (Not that ANY of us would EVER, but you know...it's still forever) I have tried to do some of the things you have suggested and I think it is going to just take some time. He has come around more and he does try to express his feelings more. He does get overwhelmed still though (as I am sure we all do) I think Dylan will be just fine and thanks to all of you who recommended books, they are so informative and some things you just want to read yourself. I think what has been most helpfull though is knowing that I am not alone. I actually got my husband to participate and read your advise! (which he also found helpfull). So thanks again moms and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!! I hope you all have something wonderful planned (or your husbands/kids do) for OUR special day, because you know.................WE DESERVE IT!!! :)
M.B. answers from Seattle on May 05, 2008
This sounds totally age appropriate. My 4 1/2 year old son is doing the same things. One thing I do that seems to help is give my voice to the emotions that he is feeling. This morning I came to pick him up from the drop-off "daycare" at the YMCA that I go to, he threw a small tantrum because he wasn't ready to go yet. I looked at him and said, "I know you're upset and angry that you have to leave your friends now, but it's time to go". Then I walked over to get his shoes, handed them to him and told him to put them on while I signed him out. That was the end of it for us.
A lot of time they are feeling emotions that they don't know how to voice, or what they even are. We as parents need to help them sort out all these confusing emotions that they experience.
There is a Sesame Street episode where Baby Bear is super upset about something, and Whoopi Goldberg helps him give voice to his anger in a way that hurts nothing. She screwed up her face in an angry face, and muttered "I'm so angry, I'm so angry, I'm so angry" while shaking her fists side to side near her. Another chant was a whole bunch of nonsense with a small yell at the end. That might help your son instead of him kicking and hurting things (including himself).
Hope this helps,
S.L. answers from Seattle on May 06, 2008
My name is S.. I totally understand what you are going thru. My son just turned 8 and he started having HUGE temper trantrums when he turned 6. Nothing major changed in his life and he had no traumatic experiences. He was doing it everywhere, at anyones house (sitters, relatives, home,school) and it was a BLOW UP including screaming at the top of his lungs, hitting, kicking, throwing things. The trantrums usually lasted 20minutes then he would feel really bad, apologize and move on. I was confused, hurt and so worried. I talked to two psychiatrists and a wonderful behavioral specialist and we all together (with his teacher, too) came to the conclusion that he had ANXIETY. !!! You may want to see if that is what is happening with your child. He cant help it and punishing him will not help either of you. It will hurt him and make you feel bad. I highly suggest talking to a behaviroal specialist...they are there to help.
In my situation I opted to have my son take a small dose of medication...because I had tried everything! Not kidding...naturopath, no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, spankings, restriction, blah, blah...exhausting! For two years mind you...but in my case with my son he needed medication as anxiety runs in our family ( i am coming to find out.) And guess what? We have had NOT ONE TRANTRUM for two months now. It is amazing.
Good luck to you. I know how challenging this is to experience.
M.S. answers from Portland on May 05, 2008
This is totally normal and is an age thing. My daughter went through the same thing. I think it has a lot to do without how much responsibility we put on them. They are now capable for doing so much for themselves (at home and in school), but emotionally are having trouble dealing with it all. They are also feeling a loss because they are no longer allowed to act like a toddler/baby. We stop carrying them around, we tell them they are too big to ride in strollers and shopping carts, we don't ALWAYS hold their hands in public, they go potty all alone, they dress all alone, etc. This fit phase lasts about a year.
Try a lot less punishment (unless behavior is totally unacceptable) and praise instead. It helped my daughter to be able to regress in certain areas. She wanted to be carried sometimes, she wanted to ride in the stroller when her brother choose to get out and walk, she wanted to be dressed by us, have us wait on her a little, etc. Be careful not to let it get too out of hand, but sometimes they have just had so much going on that they need to be taken care of. More one-on-one physical attention helps too.
Try really hard to imagine it from his point of view. Imaine a day where you have tons of new responsibilities (like 14 hours straight at a new job). It is so stressful that you want to just come home and have your husband do everything while you lay on the couch and veg.
A.S. answers from Portland on May 06, 2008
There is a series of books that really helped me understand what was going on developmentally with my kids. I just read about this in the book "Your five year old" by Louise Bates Ames. She has one for each year. The books are older, but I have read two of them and they still really ring true. Check your library. My dd is doing similar stuff. I think she is 3 again!
Good luck and I really encourage you to get the book. It is short and easy to read. It explains all about the cycles of development; your ds is experiencing disequalibrium at the moment.
J.M. answers from Portland on May 07, 2008
wow, same thing going on with my 5 1/2 yr old son. Nothing has really changed in our situation but the last few months have been very stressful with his tantrums when he doesn't get his way. I understand it's about frustration but I can't take the behaviour. The other thing is he just won't listen to me or do as I say. I appreciate knowing that we're not the only ones and that this could be a normal phase at this age, our older daughter never did this. The advice from other is helpful so thanks for posing the question.
J.T. answers from Portland on May 07, 2008
K., it seems that your family has gone through some big changes lately. I'm wondering if that's part of what's going on with Dylan. I know it's tough. The worst part for me was having other people stare or make insensitive comments while I try to calm down a kid in the throws of a tantrum. Maybe trying to be as consistent as possible and keeping with routines will help. Not always easy, huh? I'm guessing that Dylan is just telling you, in the only way he can, that he's feeling like his world is in flux. Some kids just don't handle changes well. I know mine don't. I would try to give Dylan lots of attention and love, without coddling him. Give him an idea of what to expect on a day to day basis, if you can. And give him a chance to adapt if things don't go as planned. Most importantly, know that you are not alone. We parents need to support and encourage one another. There isn't one of us who won't have to deal with a tantrum at some point.
B.P. answers from Seattle on May 06, 2008
I'm sure he is upset by the move. This will cause extra stress. Sometimes they act out but don't know why. It's not alway misbehavior, but mistaken behavior. He may not know why he is feeling the way he is. You need to stop him where it's possible and ask him why he is angry. Try to talk it out and teach him how to use his words to communicate. If he doesn't then just walk away, he can't get attention from it if you aren't looking. Tell him you aren't mad, but you need to know what is going on with him to make him act out instead of communicating in an appropriate way. This is working well in elementary schools.
R.J. answers from Portland on May 09, 2008
My son also had a major change in his behavior that sounds similar to what you are dealing with. We finally took him to a natropath and had his neuro-chemicals tested. They were really far off (seretonin was really low, along with a bunch of other stuff). He has started taking some amino acid and vitamin supliments designed for his situation, and he feels soooo much better already. Now I recognize my sweet little boy. Good luck. I hope your little guy feels better soon.